For December 12th:
- 1862 - A Confederate torpedo (mine) sinks USS Cairo in the Yazoo River.
- 1937 - Japanese aircraft sink USS Panay (PR 5) in the Yangtze River near Nanking, China.
- 1941 - The Naval Air Transport Service is established.
- 1951 - The first flight of helicopter with a gas-turbine engine at Windsor Locks, Conn., demonstrates the adaptability of this engine to helicopters.
- 1972- Capt. Eugene A. Cernan, commander of Apollo 17, walks on the Moon. Cmdr. Ronald E. Evans was the command module pilot. The mission lasted 12 days, 13 hours and 52 minutes. HC-1 helicopters from USS Ticonderoga (CV 14) led the recovery.
For more information about Naval history, visit the Naval Historical Center Web site at www.history.navy.mil.